Selling Business Value Doesn’t Lead to Purchase

To those who know me and Oinkodomeo, they must be reading this and thinking that my brain baked a little too long in the sunshine, since I am adamant about teaching how to sell business value. Actually, this is a problem we do see, even by our clients who have done a great job converting from selling features to selling business value for their complex solutions and services.  Sometimes it just doesn’t appear to be enough.

Here is the really good news. Turns out there is something that’s proven to be even more powerful than business value in driving numerous commercial objectives (including awareness, consideration, purchase intent, willingness to pay a premium, loyalty, or willingness to recommend) – personal value.

See CEB Marketing Blog (now part of Gartner): Why Business Value Doesn’t Lead to Purchase, November 2013 by Karl Schmidt.

CEB, experts in business performance best practices, conducted a formal study of 3,000 B2B customers and found that personal value was twice as powerful as business value in driving objectives.  According to CEB, personal value focuses on “the benefits to the individual customer stakeholder in areas like their professional goals, social interactions, and emotional drivers.”  As more and more often purchasing is the issuer of blanket RFP’s for services and solutions, the personal value key becomes even more important.  But you can’t play that card with purchasing and an RFP.  Thinking back to classic sales training, this sounds a lot like the time for finding your “champion”, but with a unique spin, they gain something from the decision, too.  Looking at our client’s best customers, you see a line of folks who are passionate about making their company successful, and you often see that over the years, these are the innovators and the ones who rise through the ranks with regular recognition, awards, and promotions.  When they helped make the buy decision, they gained personal value as well as helped their company gain business value.

So more than ever, make sure you are selling value not features, but then go find out those decision makers who will also gain personal value and make them stars.